With fall on fall, from wood to wood,
The brook pours mossy music down
Or is it, in the solitude,
The murmur of a Faery town?
A town of Elfland filled with bells
And holiday of hurrying feet:
Or traffic now, whose small sound swells,
Now sinks from busy street to street.
Whose Folk I often recognize
In wingéd things that hover 'round,
Who to men's eyes assume disguise
When on some elfin errand bound.
The bee, that haunts the touchmenot,
Big-bodied, making braggart din
Is fairy brother to that sot,
Jack Falstaff of the Boar's Head Inn.
The dragonfly, whose wings of black
Are mantle for his garb of green,
Is Ancient to this other Jack,
Another Pistol, long and lean.
The butterfly, in royal tints,
Is Hal, mad Hal, in cloth of gold,
Who passes these, as once that Prince
Passed his companions boon of old.